Chuck Rules, Bill Bites

Today Bill Cooke at Random Pixels took a shot at New Times and editorial jefe Chuck Strouse. He wrote:

I used to love Miami New Times. When I lived in Coconut Grove I knew where the paper was delivered on Wednesday and usually snagged a copy by early afternoon.

Since editor Jim Mullin's departure a few years ago, the paper has taken a turn for the worse. Just about all the good writers have left and the paper itself is an anemic, slimmed-down version of what it was years ago...In short, Chuck has done it all.

He's forgotten more about journalism than I'll ever know.

I was gonna let this one slide, but Bill didn't do any research before posting his item like he usually does when he is knocking the Miami Herald. Granted I cringed at Chuck's post today, which is what Bill was ranting about. My boss makes me cringe everyday. But Bill wants to correlate Chuck's throwaway, pithy blog item with what Chuck gets from his writers.

Ever since Jim Defede left, and the subsequent departure of long-time editor Jim Mullin, I hear all sort of people bemoan that New Times is not what it used to be. I say garbage. It may not be the same bylines, but the edgy, gritty muck-raking spirit is still alive and kicking ass.

Obviously Bill hasn't bothered to read the great work that the most recent additions to the paper have brought to the fore.

Obviously he hasn't read Natalie O'Neill's squatter story that everyone else in town and CNN followed.

Obviously he hasn't read Gus Garcia-Robert's excellent cover story about six Carol City high kids who were killed months before their graduation and the deep emotional scars their surviving friends, teachers, and family members have to live with. It is a story that really captures the violent reality in Miami-Dade's most dangerous zip code for teenagers.

Obviously Bill didn't read Tim Elfrink's recent piece on the closing of the Gitmo prison camp, another yarn depicting what alternative newspapers do best: tell a story with context and perspective.

And don't get me started on the calendar, music, art, and food sections because no one in town comes close there.

You don't have to take my word for it. Just check with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Press Association to find out about all the first place awards Miami New Times staffers have won under Chuck's tenure.

Or maybe you want to ask Lee Klein what it feels like to be a finalist for the International Association of Culinary Professionals Bert Greene Awards. Better yet talk to our web editor Jose Duran so he can tell you how our Internet traffic has doubled since he started last year.

Sure, New Times has had a lot of turnover in recent years, but in spite of that, Chuck has done a fantastic job of getting his reporters to write award winning important, relevant work, stories that everyone else follows and get into the real Miami-Dade County.

By smearing Chuck, Bill smears the excellent job the staff he assembled is doing. But then again, when you get the haters talking about you, then you know you're doing something right.

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